Oragadam unit to resume partially, pay cut for protesters: Royal Enfield


Royal Enfield

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  With  protesting workers having decided to return to work at Royal Enfield's factory near Chennai, the management in a notice issued to the employees said that the resumption of the operations in Oragadam Plant will be based on readiness and will resume partially. 


The employees will be allowed to resume work based on a commitment to consistently support operations without creating any disruptions in future. Calling it an illegal strike, the company also informed that there will be a deduction in the salary of those who participated in it.

Royal Enfield did not respond to a Business Standard email on the matter.

A notice to the employees stated that the company's production at Oragadam facility was disturbed by an "illegal strike" called by an unrecognised Union at the factory on 24 September. The strike has hampered the regular operations of the organisation.

Without disclosing the loss caused due to the strike, Royal Enfield said the Oragadam plant was running in a restricted manner for the first two days. The company had invested around Rs nine billion at this plant, which has a capacity to produce around 600,000 units per annum. 

The employees are returning to work on Friday on the advice of Labour Commissioner office.

The development comes after a cross-section of workers began protesting over allegations that the company was not allowing them to form a union over a host of demands including wage revision.

Royal Enfield in a petition to the Madras High Court, in which it sought police protection and asked the court to direct the protestors to stay at least 200 meters away from the factory premises, said that there was no compulsion for the company to recognise the Royal Enfield Employees Union for any talks since it has only a handful of workers.

The company also said that it has signed settlements with 'Enfield Employees Union' from time to time. Employees in the Tiruvottiyur factory are members of this union. The last such settlement was signed in 2017 and is in force till 2020. Royal Enfield decided to set up factories at Oragadam and Vallam in 2013 and 2016 respectively, as the Tiruvottiyur unit was not enough to cater to the demand. 

The company claims that nearly 10,000 direct and indirect jobs are created per month and it has more than 4,000 employees in all its factories.

The motorcycle manufacturing firm in its petition alleged that, after the conciliation meeting on September 26, the workers began to prevent willing workmen and also stopped ingress to and egress from the factory.

"The activities in the factory has been paralysed and the employees and staff in the factory are in fear state of mind and are finding difficult to report to the duty," said in the petition adding that workers from Oragadam factory are obstructing the bus carrying the workmen of the company's Vallam factory and has been preventing them from reporting to work as well.

The company has said that the protesting union is neither a registered nor an elected body and there is already an employee representative body being elected under the name of Royal Enfield Collaborative Forum, in its Oragadam factory.

Any matter to be discussed about the employees will be taken only by the forum, said that company.

R Sampath, vice president of Royal Enfield Employees Union, said that a general body meeting of the employees was held today and decided that the protesting workers may not be able to commit anything while resuming to the works and they will not go back to work partially.  He added that the Forum was formed only after the union started formation in the factory and it cannot be considered as a workers' representative union. The union claims backing from almost 750 of the over 800 permanent workers in the factory.